Most people are just so happy to find a grant program, they don’t stop to consider whether they should apply. And that is where most applicants go wrong. Our aim is to empower you to build a strong and successful approach to grants, so you can help deliver the best outcomes for our shared community.
How Do Grants Work?
You might be surprised to know that grants are not really about you – even when you win them! Grants are offered by government and occasionally by corporations, to help fulfil their policy and aims. Where your project aligns with these aims and helps to achieve those goals – then you might get a grant. Just remember, grants are part of a bigger picture. Submitting a grant application is the wrong place to start if you have not considered the intention behind the program.
Who can receive grants?
Grants are provided for projects, not organisations. You can’t get funding just to run your organisation: you need to identify a specific need and present it as a project, with a beginning and an end. Grant funding is available for a broad range of activities across not-for-profit, business and community sectors. The focus, however, is generally on the following areas:
- Cultural and Community Development
- Heritage Preservation
- Research & Innovation
- Environmental Sustainability
- Green Technology
- Export & Manufacturing
- IT & Communication Services
- Medical & Biotechnology
The Solution: A 4-Step Approach
To be successful in with grants, we suggest the following:
- Education – think right and understand how grants operate. Then measure the effort required for a grant versus the benefit. Don’t forget to assess alignment with the program aims and also your ability to deliver your proposed project.
- Grant Strategy – build a sustainable and tailored approach to finding, qualifying and applying for grants as part of your strategic planning. We have built GrantGuru for exactly this purpose.
- Grant Writing – it’s not rocket science, but a certain amount of skill and experience certainly helps. You need to describe your business and activities in a clear, comprehensive and consistent manner and make an convincing case about why you should receive funding.
- Grant Management – Once you have received a grant, there is more work to do. Consider your capacity to record, report, measure and acquit grant funds. You don’t get funded for free – you will need to justify your grant.
Where it usually goes wrong
Traditionally everyone starts and ends at Step 3 – Grant Writing. As a result, most fail and the attrition rates are high, resulting in lost time, effort and expense. We emphasise Steps 1 and 2 – Education and Grant Strategies. This way, organisations can build an ongoing grant calendar and systematically work their way through grant programs that are best suited to them. As they do this, their internal ability to apply for grants will increase
All grants differ in their requirements and eligibility criteria. Be prepared to be assessed in relation to all aspects of your organisation and activities, including:
- Your management capabilities
- Organisation structure
- Budget and turnover
- Tax status (if you are a NFP it is usually best to have Deductable Gift Recipient tax status)
- Outcomes and achievements to date
See our Top 20 Tips for more information on how to write a strong grant application.